This past weekend, the seventh annual Poinsettia Trials Open House was held in conjunction with the Macfarlane Greenhouses, the New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station, and the University of New Hampshire Thompson School.
The University of New Hampshire is located in Durham, NH, which is less than a 15 minute drive from home.
Poinsettias came to the United States in 1828 after being discovered in Southern Mexico by the first US Ambassador to Mexico, Dr. Joel Roberts Poinsett. December 12th is considered National Poinsettia Day in recognition of both the man who brought it to the United States and the plant which is sometimes considered to be a symbol of the Star of Bethlehem. And, contrary to a common myth, poinsettia leaves are not poisonous.
Visitors to the Poinsettia Trials were able to enjoy over 100 Poinsettia varieties and also contribute by recording their favorite plants from the many varieties.
For a Master Gardener affiliated with Cooperative Extension at UNH this opportunity caused my pulse to quicken and the car to start.
The trials area and judging sheet included varieties arranged by color – red, pink, white, novelty and overall favorite. You recorded your first, second, third choices, any that you did not like, and your overall favorites.
Trials are held at various universities and commercial greenhouses across the country with the results providing breeders and growers with information enabling them to evaluate differences in varieties, growing conditions and markets.
Once you were done participating in the trials, you entered the greenhouses where there were hundreds of plants for sale. Beautiful plants, gorgeous plants – enjoy.